Hopping on a Bird scooter in Raleigh just got a lot more expensive.

In response to the Raleigh City Council’s regulations, which include a $300-per-scooter fee, Bird is upping per-ride fees 200 percent. Users will now pay a $2 “transportation” fee in addition to the previous $1 unlock fee and then $0.15 per minute for each ride. 

Competitor Lime has not raised its fees as of Monday, according to the app. 

The council passed rules for the scooters in November, implementing the $300 fee per scooter, totaling $150,000 for the maximum of five hundred permitted scooters. Rules also dictate when the scooters can be put out in the morning and where they can be left by riders. The rules only apply to current operators in the city, and preferred operators will be selected later this year through a bidding process. 

Scooter operators Bird and Lime reluctantly agreed to the council’s demands in December, with both companies noting the rules make it harder to provide services in the city. 

The new fee is the “result of financial regulations passed by Raleigh City Council,” Bird said in a press release.

“When [the] Raleigh City Council passed its regulations, Bird had two options: abandon the community we’ve had the honor to serve and focus on more business-friendly cities, or stay and fight for riders like you who want transportation alternatives,” the company stated. “To us, the decision was an easy one. We decided to stay and work to ensure Raleigh residents don’t have to pay a premium for environmentally friendly transportation—but we need your help.”

Bird urged residents to email city council members and ask them to “remove this unreasonable tax.”

City council member Nicole Stewart, who has advocated for the scooters, worries that the increased fees will price out the city’s least affluent riders. 

“If we’re interested in increasing access to transportation, to new job opportunities, then this is doing the opposite,” Stewart says. “I definitely am concerned about what our increased fees do for the transportation option generally, which companies will stay and which will choose to go, and I think we need to shape our [request for proposals] learning these lessons already.”

When contacted by the INDY, city transportation director Michael Moore was not yet aware of the increased fee. He said the RFP is still being reviewed and is expected to be released in the coming weeks. He offered no opinion on the rate hike.

“That’s a business decision they make,” Moore says. “If that’s what they feel like they have to do to operate here, that’s what they need to do.”

Council member Dickie Thompson, who proposed raising the fee to $300 and who had advocated for banning the dockless scooters altogether, could not be reached for comment Monday morning. 

One reply on “Bird Will Charge Raleigh Residents an Extra $2 to Ride a Scooter, Blames the City Council”

  1. The City has now made it too expensive for poor, predominately African-American kids in town be able to afford using the scooters, while placing a beautiful $2 tax on everyone who can afford it. Then they blame the company for doing “whatever they think they need to do.” Liberal leadership at its best. Also, let’s not forget that their crony friends at Citrix, who decided to start adding per-fee bikes as soon as the City decided to limit scooter use. Hmmmmm…. coincidence? I think not.

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